3 Doors Down
Time of My Life
3 Doors Down is the closest thing post-grunge rock has to a Swiss watch. Every three years the Escatawpa, Miss., band puts out a new album that strikes the new-hour tone in pretty much the same way as the previous release struck it. And the last three "hours" have yielded Top 5 albums.
While those who aren't already in the fold are unlikely to be converted by the band's fifth effort (which has garnered a collective yawn from mainstream critics), fans will find another album that more often than not combats angst with stiff-upper-lip optimism.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
"She Is Love" personifies the virtue of love as a woman who tends to those who are broken and scarred, even if they don't sense her presence: "She walks through the city/No one recognizes her face/ … She's carried the broken/ … She walks in forgiveness/She'll shine like a light in the dark/She is love." Though the song never mentions God, its vision looks a lot like the one God gives us in 1 Corinthians 13. We hear, "When they are weak, she will always be strong/Though they don't know it, they are never alone/No matter how many times they may leave/It's never hopeless, 'cause she still believes/She is love."
"Heaven" is written from the perspective of a prodigal who laments how difficult he's made life for those who love him, and who now longs for the steadfast love of those waiting for him at home. "I didn't have to lie to myself for so long," he confesses. "I didn't have to let myself get so far gone/I didn't have to make the ones I love feel so alone." The song also praises his loved ones' belief in him despite his failures ("Through it all you never walked away").
"Race for the Sun" acknowledges the inevitability of heartache ("Things are gonna hurt sometimes, that's for sure") but affirms the importance of living with determination and purpose ("I won't get turned around 'cause I keep moving on/ … I can't wait for the morning sun/And it's gonna shine on me/ … I swear I'll find where I wanna be/And I'll live the day like it's the only one"). "Round and Round" contrasts abusers with their victims ("There's one who takes it all, and there's one who takes the fall/ … There's one who lives in pain, and there's one who has no shame"), even as it rightly recognizes that that's not the way things are supposed to be ("Where we're gonna stop, nobody knows/Something's wrong, I feel it in my soul") and longs for release from the cycle of dysfunction ("Just to find a way out, just to find a way out for me").
Three breakup songs ("Back to Me," "My Way," "What's Left") try to make sense of how unhealthy relational patterns led to difficult romantic dissolutions, yet avoid wallowing in too much self-centered angst. And even though the road warrior life of a rock star is wearying at times, frontman Brad Arnold affirms that he and his bandmates appreciate the life they've been given ("The life I love is the one I lead/ … I'm having the time of my life.")
"When You're Young" tries to empathize with teens who feel disenfranchised by the adult world. But the song arguably pours gasoline on that sense of brooding alienation by accusing those who are older of having a spurious agenda: "You give what you give 'cause they make you/Trapped inside a place that won't take you/And they want you to be what they make you/It's already over and done when you're young."
"On the Run" shows us a habitual drifter who makes no apologies for his choices ("The daylight fades, it won't be long/The night gets dark and I get wild/I can't help it, that's my style/ … I'm on the run"). "Believer" hints at a man's violent response when he comes home to find his lady with another man. "Every Time We Go" tosses in a mild sexual allusion ("Through all these sleepless nights alone/I still feel you").
We hear one misuse of God's name and one "h‑‑‑."
If you carefully comb through the liner notes for Time of My Life, you'll find that two of the band's five members credit God for their success. That doesn't make 3 Doors Down a Christian band. And neither do their usually positive lyrics. Still, it's gratifying to see a connection between musicians' attitudes toward God and the generally upbeat and optimistic songs that they're writing.
Rock 'n' roll is all about the angst. The rebellion. And the despair. But 3 Doors Down never got that memo. Time of My Life has a few hiccups. On balance, though, it's a pretty mature offering from a group of guys whose success hasn't left them jaded and cynical. Quite the opposite in fact.